Sunbeds & UV radiation


Glossary over Sunbeds


Autoimmunity happens when the body fails to recognise some of its own tissues or cells and attacks them as if they were foreign.

Diseases arising from this abnormal immune response are called autoimmune diseases.

Examples of autoimmune diseases include type 1 diabetes and lupus. (Source: GreenFacts)


Any one of a group of diseases that occur when cells in the body become abnormal and have the potential to spread and establish growth in nearby tissues and other parts of the body (malignancy). (Source: GreenFacts )



A substance, factor or situation that causes or induces cancer. (Source: GreenFacts )


A clouding of the natural lens of the eye most frequently caused by ageing that can severely blur vision. (Source: GreenFacts)


A natural protein that forms connective tissue and provides strength, resilience, and support to the skin, ligaments, tendons, bones, and other parts of the body.

Collagen is the main structural protein of the skin. (Source: GreenFacts)



DNA constitutes the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information and pass it from one generation to the next. (Source: NCI dictionary  )



Group of morphine-like chemical compounds produced naturally in the brain to block pain sensations. They also produce a sense of well-being. (Source: GreenFacts)


In humans and animals, epidermis refers to the thin outermost layer of the skin.

This tissue constantly renews itself. (Source: GreenFacts)


Superficial reddening of the skin due to the dilatation of blood vessels. Erythema is often a sign of infection or inflammation and may be caused by sunburn. (Source: GreenFacts)


Contact of the cells of an organism with a substance, micro-organism or radiation. In the case of humans, this may involve contact with a substance or agent by swallowing, breathing, or through the skin or eyes. Exposure may be short-term [acute exposure], of intermediate duration, or long-term [chronic exposure].

Exposure can be divided into external and internal.

External exposure refers to the whole dose to which an organism is exposed.

Internal exposure refers only to that fraction of the initial chemical dose that is absorbed and distributed throughout the body via systemic circulation. (Source: GreenFacts)



Main components of the human eye include:

The retina - Light-sensitive layer at the back of the eyeball onto which incoming light is focused. It contains cells that respond to colours, different shades of grey, and movement. These cells trigger nerve impulses that are carried by the optic nerve to the brain, where a visual image is formed.

The cornea - The dome-shaped, transparent layer that forms the front of the eyeball. It bends light entering the eye into the lens, and hence helps to focus images onto the retina. It contains no blood vessels and is extremely sensitive to pain.

The lens - Transparent elastic structure situated behind the pupil of the eye that focuses incoming light onto the retina. Muscles in the eye can adjust the shape of the lens and make it more flattened to focus on distant objects, or make it more rounded to focus on near objects.

The vitreous humour - The transparent jelly-like substance that fills the eyeball between the lens and the retina. (Source: GreenFacts)


Immune system

The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by “foreign” invaders. (Source: NIAID Immune System   )



Inflammation is the reaction of living tissues to infection, irritation or other injury. (Source: GreenFacts)


Infrared radiation

Electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths longer than visible light, but shorter than microwave radiation, i.e. from approximately 750nm to 1mm. The name means "below red", red being the color of visible light of longest wavelength. (Source: GreenFacts)



International unit of energy, equivalent to one watt per second. (Source: GreenFacts)


A chronic inflammatory connective tissue disease marked by skin rashes, joint pain and swelling, inflammation of the kidneys, inflammation of the fibrous tissue surrounding the heart (i.e. the pericardium), as well as other problems. Not all affected individuals display all of these problems. (Source: Rare Cancer Alliance Cancer Dictionary  )


Melatonin is a hormone formed by the pineal gland (which is located in the center of the brain). Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle and is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light. Melatonin is also available in some countries as a drug or a dietary supplement which acts against insomnia and jet-lag. (Source: GreenFacts)


Unit of length equal to one millionth of a millimetre (10-9 m). (Source: GreenFacts)

Opioid peptides

Group of chemicals that have opiate-like effects and that may be produced by the body itself or absorbed from certain food products.

Opioid peptides have effects on mood, emotion, control of pain and appetite. (Source: GreenFacts)


Premature ageing of the skin as a result of excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Effects of photoageing on the skin include dryness, loss of elasticity, wrinkles, discolouration and changes in texture. (Source: GreenFacts)


Chemical administered orally or applied directly to the skin to increase the skin's reaction to UVA for a therapeutic effect. For instance, it is used in combination with UVA to treat psoriasis and other skin conditions. (Source: GreenFacts )


A chronic, non-contagious skin disease that occurs when the growth of new skin cells rapidly accelerates, causing dead cells to accumulate and form itchy, red, scaly patches on the elbows, knees, scalp, and other parts of the body. (Source: GreenFacts )


Bone disease, mainly seen in childhood, where the bones become malformed and soft due to vitamin D deficiency. This deficiency may be nutritional or due to lack of sunlight exposure. (Source: GreenFacts )

Scientific Committee on Consumer Products

The Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) was set up in 2004 by the European Commission to provide the Commission with unambiguous scientific advice on the safety of consumer products (non-food products intended for the consumer). It replaced the former Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products (SCCNFP).

The SCCP's advice is intended to enable risk managers to take the adequate and required actions in order to guarantee consumer protection.

The SCCP addresses questions in relation to the safety and allergenic properties of cosmetic products and ingredients with respect to their impact on consumer health, toys, textiles, clothing, personal care products, domestic products such as detergents, and consumer services such as tattooing.

The SCCP consists of a maximum of 19 members. There is also a reserve list made up of candidates found suitable for a position in a Scientific Committee but not appointed. The members of the SCCP are appointed on the basis of their skills and experience in the fields in question, and consistent with this a geographical distribution that reflects the diversity of scientific problems and approaches in the European Union (EU). The experts' term of office is three years and is renewable for a maximum of three consecutive times. In agreement with the Commission, the Scientific Committees may turn to specialised external experts.

The SCCP complies with the principles of independence, transparency and confidentiality. The members therefore make a declaration of commitment to act in the public interest and a declaration of interests; requests for opinions, agendas, minutes and opinions are published; work and publications are done with regard to the need for commercial confidentiality.

By the end of 2006 the SCCP had adopted close to 100 opinions or position papers on topics such as fragrances, hair dies, consumer products, preservatives, UV filters, and other substances. (Source: SCCP website )


Chemical messenger [(neurotransmitter)] in the brain that affects emotions, behavior, and thought (Source: University of Maryland Medical Center Women’s Health Glossary   )

Skin cancer

A tumour that grows from skin cells and which can have different causes, including repeated severe sunburns or long-term exposure to the sun. (Source: GreenFacts, based on EcoHealth; Glossary   )


Skin phototypes

The classification of skin phototypes depends on the skin response to sunlight. This is determined by skin colour (white, brown or black skin) and the result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (tanning).

There are six skin phototypes, based on the sunburning and tanning response to sunlight: (Source: GreenFacts)

Skin type Typical features Sunburn suscep-tibility Tanning ability Skin cancer risk
I Pale white skin, blue/hazel eyes, blond/red hair High None High
II Fair skin, blue eyes High Poor High
III Darker white skin Moderate Good Low
IV Olive skin Low Very good Low
V Brown Very low Excellent Very low
VI Dark brown or black skin Very low Excellent Very low

An abnormal mass of tissue resulting from uncontrolled and excessive cell division.

Tumours can be either benign (localised, without the invasion of other tissues) or malignant (showing progressive invasion of other tissues). (Source: GreenFacts)

Ultraviolet radiation

Electromagnetic radiation of shorter wavelength than visible light but of longer wavelenght than x-rays, i.e. ranging from approximately 400 nm to 100 nm.

The most common source of ultraviolet radiation is the sun, but it can also be produced artificially by UV lamps.

UV radiation is divided into three bands: UVA, UVB, and UVC. All three bands are classified as a probable human carcinogen.

UVA – Long-wavelength UVA covers the range 315–400 nm. Not significantly filtered by the atmosphere. Approximately 90% of UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. UVA is again divided into UVA-I (340 nm - 400 nm) and UVA-II (315 nm - 340 nm).

UVB – Medium-wavelength UVB covers the range 280–315 nm. Approximately 10% of UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.

UVC – Short-wavelength UVC covers the range 100–280 nm. All solar UVC radiation is absorbed by the ozone layer. (Source: GreenFacts based on WHO  Artificial tanning sunbeds: risks and guidance )


UV Dose

The amount of UV radiation to which a person is exposed.

The UV dose depends on the intensity of UV radiation and exposure time. UV radiation dose is expressed in Joules/m2. In general, the greater the dose, the greater the likelihood of an effect. (Source: GreenFacts)

UV index (UVI)

The UVI is a measure of the level of [sunburning] UV radiation.

The values of the index range from zero [to eleven and beyond] - the higher the UVI, the greater the potential for damage to the skin and eye, and the less time it takes for harm to occur.

The UVI is an important vehicle to alert people about the need to use sun protection. (Source: WHO UV Index  )



Vitamins are a group of organic micronutrients that are required by the body for healthy growth, development and immune system functioning.

Certain vitamins are produced by the body but most vitamins are obtained from food or from manufactured dietary supplements. (Source: GreenFacts)



Symbol: W

Unit of power equivalent to 1 joule of energy per second (1 J/s). (Source: GreenFacts)


World Health Organization

"The World Health Organization  (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations’ system. WHO experts produce health guidelines and standards, and help countries to address public health issues. WHO also supports and promotes health research. Through WHO, governments can jointly tackle global health problems and improve people’s well-being.

193 countries and two associate members are WHO’s membership. They meet every year at the World Health Assembly in Geneva to set policy for the Organization, approve the Organization’s budget, and every five years, to appoint the Director-General. Their work is supported by the 34-member Executive Board, which is elected by the Health Assembly. Six regional committees focus on health matters of a regional nature."

WHO's scientific publications are widely recognized as a reference source.

The WHO has a number of regional offices which address the specific issues of those regions.

WHO World Regional Offices
  WHO African Region  (46 countries)
  WHO European Region  (53 countries)
  WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region  (21 countries)
  WHO Region of the Americas  (35 countries)
  WHO South-East Asia Region  (11 countries)
  WHO Western Pacific Region  (27 countries)

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